Preferences and Preference Sets
Preference sets are key to making Canvastic work for students.
They allow Canvastic to be customized for the user. They allow it
to grow with the user. This is a signature feature of Canvastic.
Be sure to read this entire section. You can customize the Tools,
Colors, Choices, Preview, Document and Browser palettes, document
size and placement, and spell checking function. The preference
sets can be adjusted as the users become comfortable with the tools
and options. Certain activities may be better facilitated with a
custom preference set.
Before making changes to the preference sets you must be logged
into the computer as an administrator. Limited users, such as students,
will not be able to make these kinds of changes. You can make all
these adjustments but first you must open the Preferences window.
Under Macintosh OS X choose Preferences... from the Canvastic menu.
Under Windows choose Preferences... from the Edit menu.
The Preferences Window will show you the presently selected set
in the title bar. If it says “Default.cpf”, Canvastic
will continue to automatically start up using that preference set
until you make a change.If you would prefer that your users choose
the preference set at startup, UNcheck the “Use only default
preferences” checkbox on the Other tab. Then click the Save
Note: You will find several important sections
below. A complete understanding of Canvastic’s Preferences
features is highly recommended:
The Preferences Window
Theses images show the 4 tabs of the Preferences window; Document
Size, Window Size, Spelling, Other.
The Document Size Tab: This is how new documents
will be sized and viewed.
- Adjust the height and width in inches, pixels or cm.
- Adjust the magnification on screen. This can help show the entire
page on screen without having to use scroll bars.
- Resolution is set at 72dpi.
The Window Size Tab: This is how document's window
will be sized and viewed.
- Decide on a window that is maximized or in a fixed location
on the screen. This maximize choice is easy but it may be harder
to place the tool palettes. Fixed allows you to place the window
exactly where you want it to appear.
- When Fixed is the choice you can enter the pixel coordinates
(hard) or adjust a real window and use the Get Frontmost button
(easy) to capture its coordinates.
- Resolution is set at 72dpi.
- Offset new windows places new ones slightly down and to the
right of the previous document. Not recommended for elementary
The Spelling Tab:
This is where the Spell Check feature can be controlled.
- Decide on whether you want to enable Spell Check or not.
- Decide if you want to enable the Spell Check learning button
The Other Tab:
These controls effect how the palettes and preferences work.
- Palettes can be locked to prevent accidental movement and tool
hiding by younger users. Recommended for elementary students.
- The color swatches can be locked to prevent accidental access
to the system's color picker with a double click. Recommended
for primary elementary students.
- The Contextual menu can be disabled preventing Control click
and right click access to menu commands. Recommended for primary
- The 3 color choice columns in the Colors palette can be linked
for younger users. Line and Fill can be linked leaving Text separate.
All 3 can be linked for very young students.
- Canvastic will launch with a default preference set until you
uncheck the “Use only default preferences” checkbox
to allow students to select from a list of preferences at startup.
You’ll find more details about that below.
- You can designate an alternate folder as the preferences folder,
including a shared location on a network. This allows the sets
to be adjusted in one place but provides those adjustments to
everyone on the network immediately.
Default Preference Sets or
Preference List Choice
Canvastic ships with a collection of preference sets that are
stored in the Preferences Library, but you can create your own and
customize your work environment as you'd like. Note:
By default Canvastic will start up using the default preferences
that are at at a 3rd to 4th grade level. If you want your students
to have a customized environment you must UNcheck the 'Use only
default preferences' check box on the Other tab. Then click Save.
From that point forward, users will be presented with a list of
the sets that are in the Preferences folder.
Preference sets within the Preferences folder will be available
for students to choose. Preference sets within the Preferences Library
folder are "in storage" and will not be available to choose.
Copy or Save the preferences sets you want your students to use
into the Preferences folder. You can reset Canvastic to use the
default preferences again by checking the “Use only default
The standard preference sets included are shown labeled below.
Note: You can change the preference set names as long as you keep
the .cpf extension. All the preference sets were re-designed for
There are some activity specific preference sets
included in the Preferences Library folder. This is found in the
- Object only landscape.cpf
- Object only portrait.cpf
- Paint only landscape.cpf
- Paint only portrait
- Primary counting.cpf
The Canvastic preference selection window
K is the simplest and the Advanced choices are the most complex
and capable. When you launch Canvastic you will see them in a list
if you have copied them into the Preferences folder. You should
choose one and click the Open button. It will be important to instruct
students which set to choose when they start Canvastic. The names
of the sets can be changed. They can be deleted. You can create
other sets or just adjust one of the included sets. You could have
a set for each grade level or class and name it accordingly if desired.
All preference sets must have the .cpf extension.
During a session in Canvastic, you can change preference sets.
To do so, open the Preferences window and press the Open... button
The standard preference sets were created for a common screen
resolution; 1024 x 768. If your computer's screen resolution is
larger or smaller than these, you may want to create your own sets
to use your screen space more efficiently.
The preference sets can also be used as launching documents for
Canvastic under Macintosh only. Configure the set and save it with
an appropriate name. (An extension of '.cpf' is required.) Create
an alias or shortcut of the preference file and move it to a convenient
location on the hard drive or desktop. When you double-click the
preference file, alias, or shortcut, Canvastic will launch and create
a new document according to the settings in the preference file.
The preferences included with the program are named in an obvious
manner. You should explore each one and make choices about how you
would like to change them for your students. See the next section
for those instructions.
Creating and Saving Your
Careful attention to these instructions will ensure success with
your customized preference sets. Follow this checklist so you don't
forget anything. You will be opening and closing the Preferences
Window and making adjustments to the palettes, tools, choices, and
colors before you save the changes.
- Open Canvastic and choose the preference set that is closest
to the one you want to create.
- Open the Preferences window.
- Unlock the Palettes by un-checking the Lock Palettes check
- Choose the Height and Width for the default document and type
those values in the appropriate boxes.
- Choose whether you want the document windows to be of maximum
size or in a fixed position. If you choose fixed, you can type
the exact locations for the edges of the document window or use
the "Use Frontmost" button to grab those measurements
from the present top document window. So, arrange the document
window first then go back to the Preferences Window and use this
- Choose whether to enable the Spell Check feature and if so whether
to enable the “Learn” button.
- Hide or Show tools to create your preferred set of tools by
using the side menu on the Tools palette.
- Change and add colors to create your preferred set of colors.
- Hide or Show the Preview palette, Choices palette, Document
palette and Browser palette using choices from the Window menu.
- Arrange the palettes in the exact locations desired.
- Choose the colors, line thickness, font, size etc. from the
Choices palette for every tool for which you want to control the
default settings. Note:
To make sure your choices "stick" when you save the
preference set, choose each tool, change all of the settings,
then use that tool on the canvas; make a line, box etc. Then do
not adjust those settings again until after you have saved the
set. You must change every setting for every tool if you want
them to "stick".
- Choose the tool that you wish to be the default tool choice.
- Return to the Preferences window and lock the palettes if desired.
- Make appropriate choices for the color linking settings.
- Click the Save As... button and give your new preference set
a descriptive name. You must save into the Preferences folder
that is within the Canvastic folder.
Locking the Preference Sets
The preference sets can be locked so users cannot easily change
your settings. Locking the preference sets is done in the operating
system not while running Canvastic. You can “lock” the
preferences by changing the read/write permissions on the Preferences
- Quit Canvastic if it is running.
- Locate the preference that you wish to lock in the Windows Explorer.
It should be in the Preferences folder that is in the Canvastic
- Select the file with a single click and right click on the file.
Choose Properties from the contextual menu.
- Click in the "Read-only" check box.
Note: To later change and re-save this preference
set you must do the reverse of the directions above. Canvastic will
not tell you that the set is locked.
Note: If the Canvastic folder’s permissions
restrict the user, you must be logged into the computer as an administrator
to make any changes there.
Preferences Folder Location
If you decide that your students should choose from a list of
preference sets, you will soon realize that you will want to change
the sets periodically. This happens with primary students more often
than with more advanced students because you will want to introduce
tools, palettes, and features in a planned systematic way. This
is one of the most useful capabilities that Canvastic offers for
student laboratory installations.
See the sections above for
step-by-step instructions for editing the sets. The changes will
have to be made on each computer station unless you use the Alternate
Preferences Folder Location feature. If your computer stations typically
have a network server mounted, you can place your Preferences folder
on the server. Then using the Select button from the Other tab of
the Preferences Window you can tell any/all computers to use that
server-based folder. This must be done on each computer station
that you want to read its preferences from the server.
Then when you make a small change to a preference set like adding
a new tool for primary students for example, every student on your
network gets the change immediately.